If this is true, it's very disturbing:
Children held by the U.S. army at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison included one boy who appeared to be only about eight years old, the former commander of the prison told investigators, according to a transcript. 'He told me he was almost 12,' Brig.-Gen. Janis Karpinski told officials investigating prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib. 'He told me his brother was there with him, but he really wanted to see his mother, could he please call his mother. He was crying.'I wish we had more details, such as the length of his stay there (hours? days? months?), whether he appeared in the prison as combatant (that is, was he brought in bearing arms or fresh from the fighting?), and whether he was sequestered from the adult prisoners. A report like this is too bare bones to have any real meaning, especially in a region that has a history of using kids in the front lines. It doesn't take a lot of searching to find stories of gun wielding pre-teens amonst the Palestinians, for example, nor have the Islamists shown themselves averse to using children -- even mentally retarded children -- as human bombs. Given these facts, it is possible that his retention was legitimate, and appropriately handled, no matter how upset he was at being caught. Alternatively, this could have been one of those horrible moments in war when children are maltreated, and that too needs to be addressed.